I created an automator service that duplicates a specified folder to the desktop, but I'm unsure how to run this service whenever I need it without having to open automator.

I was thinking it would be available on right-click of a finder window or the desktop for example, or even via keyboard shortcut?



1 Answer 1


In summary, to create a keyboard shortcut to run your Automator service you will need to use:

  • Automator to create your service so that it'll work the way you want
  • System Preferences to assign a keyboard shortcut to the service

Below are the steps involved for each.

1. Create a service using Automator

You're on the right track with your Service, however you need to change where the Service receives no input from. Below are the instructions (from scratch so that it's useful to others):

  1. Launch Automator (usually found within your Applications folder)
  2. Go to File > New
  3. Select Service and click Choose
  4. In the top right hand of the window that appears, ensure that "No input" is selected from the Service receives drop-down list
  5. Ensure the In drop-down list is showing "Any application" (Note: This is where you went wrong as you had selected Finder)
  6. In the second column containing the long list, find "Get Specified Finder Items" and double-click on it
  7. This will add the Get Specified Finder Items window on the right
  8. Now click on the Add... button to select the design kit folder you're wanting to copy
  9. Once again in the second column containing the long list, find "Copy Finder Items" and double-click on it
  10. Save the service using a meaningful name (e.g. Duplicate Design Kit).

Now to the next step.

2. Creating your shortcut

  1. Go to System Preferences > Keyboard > Shortcuts
  2. Select Services from the sidebar
  3. Find your service (it'll be in the list on the right-hand side)
  4. Add a shortcut by double clicking on the service name
  5. Now go to System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Privacy
  6. Select Accessibility in the sidebar
  7. Click on the + sign (you may need to unlock the padlock if it's locked)
  8. Add Automator
  9. Add Finder (to find this you will need to navigate to /System/Library/CoreServices/Finder.app).
  10. Exit your System Preferences.

Now you should be able to do two things:

1. Run the service from any application by going to the Services list within any Application menu (e.g. Finder > Services, Safari > Services, TextEdit > Services, etc) and select the service you just created.

2. Use the keyboard shortcut to run the service.

Let me know how you go.


For an unknown reason the OP found that he needed to restart his Mac before the Service was available. I mention this here in case it helps someone else trying to achieve the same thing.

  • Thanks for the clear instructions. No luck, however. The service shows up in the keyboard list, so it's definitely there. But after assigning a shortcut (and completing the rest of your steps) the shortcut does not do anything. Likewise, I don't see the service in any of the services menus in various apps. Looking at my screenshot, is my service setup correctly, I'm thinkning maybe the part at the top that says 'receives no input' etc. Thanks again for the help.
    – Brad
    May 1, 2018 at 8:30
  • Ah, yes, I can see where you went wrong. I've updated my answer to include the necessary steps for creating your Service the way you need it to be.
    – Monomeeth
    May 1, 2018 at 9:49
  • Still no luck. Here's some screenshots to show what I'm doing and what I'm seeing as a result. dropbox.com/sh/uycuhx7dj4tk7cv/AACGDfC9tiYnySnhpidV1XzHa?dl=0
    – Brad
    May 1, 2018 at 20:20
  • Hmm, strange. I have heard of problems with shortcuts not working to run a Service (that's a whole other topic!), but not with Services not appearing in the Services menu. I've just tried to replicate your scenario at my end. To do this I created a folder called Design Kit in my Dropbox folder and then I created a Service following my instructions exactly. I then added a keyboard shortcut (once again as per my answer) and in my case the Service appears in the Services menu (see image) and selecting it worked fine.
    – Monomeeth
    May 2, 2018 at 1:09
  • However, I did have problems with the shortcut you set (it just wouldn't work), so I went back and changed it to Shift+Option+Command+] and that works fine. Besides the shortcut, the only other difference at my end was that the Service was listed at the end under General (see image). Maybe create a new Service totally from scratch following my steps and try a different shortcut as well just to see what happens.
    – Monomeeth
    May 2, 2018 at 1:09

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